After the end of the Punic Wars in the third century BC, Rome focused all its strength on conquering the Iberian Peninsula. Initially, the invasion was successful and Rome conquered most of the peninsula with relative ease.
Led by Consul Servius Sulpicius Galba, Roman troops proceeded to eliminate the last remnants of the Lusitan resistance. Fearing the destruction of their lands, the Lusitans sent an emissary to Consul Galba requesting an armistice. Galba obliged, suspending the Roman offensive and promising to leave the remainder of the peninsula to the Lusitanians.
As it turned out, Galba had lied. When the Lusitanians attempted to claim the lands they were promised, Galba's army was waiting for them. The unarmed Lusitanians were killed in massive numbers. A man named Viriathus was among the few who managed to escape the massacre.
After losing such a substantial amount of troops, Lusitanian military leaders were prepared to negotiate a new treaty with their enemies. Viriathus, however, hadn't forgotten Galba's treachery. Instead of a treaty, he suggested a counteroffensive. The Lusitanians supported this idea wholeheartedly.
Viriathus and the Lusitan army were severely outmatched by the better-armed and better-organized Romans, so Viriathus utilized guerilla tactics, orchestrating imaginative ambushes and clever flanks. Charging forward with iron spears, short swords, and resounding warcries, the Lusitanians left a trail of enemy armies in their wake, freeing the Iberian Peninsula from Roman control.
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